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WILD RUMORS FUEL DAY AS BUCS SALE REACHES NEW HEIGHTS
Published January 6, 1995
It was a wild day of rumors and denials along One Buccaneer Place, as reports ranged from an impending sale to a number of bidders, to an all out suspension of the sale for a year. What is known is that trustee Steve Story met in Baltimore with Orioles Owner Peter Angelos in "an unannounced negotiating session." Angelos, who has been preparing a bid for several weeks, said he is not sure if he will submit one today or wait "until later," but added "We are working on it. We're not sitting here doing nothing" (Jon Morgan, Baltimore SUN, 1/6). Story's meeting with Angelos came on the heels of a rumor that "swept through" Hillsborough County that Angelos had a "handshake agreement" to buy the team for $217M and move it to Baltimore. Angelos denied that rumor. That led to speculation the trust would sell the team to the Tommy Shannon/Outback Steakhouse group. Hugh Culverhouse, Jr. flew to Tampa from Miami also increased speculation that some deal "might be near." Then, ESPN reported that Yankees Owner George Steinbrenner would make an offer of $164M to keep the team in Tampa. Steinbrenner's response: "You're kidding, right?" Late in the afternoon, the trust announced that head coach Sam Wyche would continue as coach for next season, raising speculation that, because no offer was sufficient, the trust intended to take the team off the market. Tommy Shannon, who reiterated that his group's offer to buy the team was only good until Monday, added: "The Wyche announcement would lead me to believe the trust may keep the team." Bruce Frey, a Chicago real-estate developer part of a Tampa group interested in the team, said of the Wyche announcement: "I don't understand it, unless they've determined to keep the team and retain Wyche" (Rick Stroud, ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 1/6).